Line judges have specific protocols to guide their positioning at the start of the match, during timeouts and when the server takes a position near them during the serving action.
During the national anthem and team announcements at the start of an NFHS match, the officiating team (two referees and two line judges) is near the first referee’s stand facing the scorer’s table. The first referee will stand just outside the sideline immediately to the left of the referee stand closest to the net (looking from the scorer’s table), and the line judge on that sideline will be to the first referee’s right near the attack line. The second referee will be on the right side of the stand with the line judge from the bench sideline positioned to the second referee’s left. They will face the flag and stand at attention during the national anthem and then face the court during player introductions. Line judge flags should be placed on the referee stand during that time. After the first referee whistles to direct teams onto the court, each line judge walks along the perimeter of the court to his or her respective corners.
During timeouts, it is suggested that the line judges take a position on the first referee’s side of the court near the stand as shown in the MechaniGram. They should first allow the teams to clear the court and then move to a position at the intersection of the sideline and attack line on the first referee’s side of the court. Each should follow his or her respective endline and/or sideline to that position as opposed to walking across the court. Each departs that position as teams begin to break their huddles, again following the sideline and endline back into position.
When a server takes a position in the service zone that is near a line judge’s base position, the line judge should step backward along the imaginary extension of the sideline in order to avoid obstructing the server’s view or inhibiting the service attempt. That allows the line judge to focus on the sideline during the serve while the first referee pays attention for a possible foot fault by the server. Per the rule changes (see p. 59), NFHS is now allowing the line judge (if instructed by the first referee) to take a position on the imaginary extension of the endline until the service is contacted to have a better view of possible foot faults when a server serves from near the line judge’s base position. That alternate position is only needed if the server is within approximately six feet of the line judge. Once the ball has been contacted by the server, the line judge should return to the corner and focus on the ensuing rally.